Mizmor- “Yodh” Review & Song Premiere!

Mizmor- "Yodh" cover

Long-time readers know that I moved to Oregon a couple years ago to escape Florida. One of the biggest reasons this region appealed to me was the music. With the now-defunct Woodsmoke label, Eternal Warfare, Glossolalia Records and Greysun all operating out of the area between Eugene and Portland, I knew I’d be surrounded by creative types and fans who shared my interests. One of the projects that was the main draw for me was local doom act Hell. I knew the members had other projects, but my initial focus was almost solely on the collaborative effort surrounding M.S.W.’s primary work. After witnessing my first of many Hell gigs, I rectified this and spent time immersing myself in the music of Mania, Mizmor, and the mellower sounds of M.S.W.’s solo work. Mizmor, the project of drummer A.L.N. has changed beautifully over the years. Initially, it was easy to draw a clear line between Mizmor and Hell. The first few Mizmor demos were cut from the same cloth and the material on the split between both projects was clearly of a similar spirit. Was it a matter of aping or climbing on Hell’s success? Hardly. Still, it was clear that the projects came from a similar place on some level. It’s been a long time since those days, and releases like Orual and last year’s split with Dross make the deliberately more focused nature apparent. With Yodh, Mizmor’s first full-length release since 2012, it’s evident that A.L.N. has channeled his influences and ambitions into their most potent form.

With five tracks spanning the course of an hour, Yodh is not an album that reveals itself immediately. Instead, in small moments of beauty, aggression, and catharsis, Mizmor draws the listener in, making these monolithic songs (the shortest track here is over ten minutes long) feel manageable and gripping. While tone is a driving force in any genre remotely related to doom, Yodh is an album that manages to utilize great sound without falling into ceaseless repetition simply for the sake of a riff. Instead, songs like “The Serpent Eats its Tail” and “Bask in the Lingering” manage to explore great swaths of sonic territory while feeling cohesive and focused. It’s this ravenous searching sensation that drives most of Mizmor’s music. The constant sense of inertia and the desire to avoid stagnation serve this act well, as these lengthy tracks never feel indulgent or top-heavy, with pummeling black metal riffs giving way to slower passages just as effortlessly as mellow moments can turn vicious. As with his work in both Hell and Urzeit, A.L.N. also manages to cover an extreme range of vocal approaches in each track, from impossibly high-pitched shrieks to guttural roars. It complements the “kitchen sink” black/doom approach well yet never feels like a forced exercise in diversity. Ultimately, Yodh is a challenge solely for the sake of its length, but it’s one that enthusiastic fans of black and doom metal will cherish.

Today, Black Metal & Brews has the honor of sharing the stream of “Woe Regains My Substance,” the album’s first track. Following a short introduction, the song begins with a massive stylistic fake-out before staking its claim. The marriage of black metal and doom is seamless and each component feels equally at place with its peers. It’s a song that is not necessarily consistent in sound or pacing, but it is effortlessly balanced and flows naturally. It’s painful and it’s often merciless, but there is an ultimate feeling of triumph against the misery that weighs the whole thing down. Listen now and get ready for Yodh‘s release in August. Pre-orders aren’t up yet, but this will be released as a CD and 2LP by Gilead Media, as well as a cassette to be purchased directly from the artist.